July 26, 2011

IconNorth American OutGames underway in Canada

The second GLISA (Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association) North American OutGames launched last night, in Vancouver, Canada.

The OutGames run until 31 July, when Vancouver Pride celebrations begin. A conference addressing human-rights issues will also run as part of the week-long festival.

Over 800 athletes will compete in the games, which are billed as “a celebration of sport, culture and human rights for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community”.

Chair of the Vancouver OutGames board, John Boychuk, told Straight that organisers intend to “showcase that you can have healthy, respectful, inclusive sport”. Although tennis and football are expected to draw the biggest crowds, the eclectic line-up also features poker and ‘Dance Sport’. Participation is open to members of the LGBT community, their friends and allies, Boychuk added.

The OutGames are still a source of controversy in the LGBT sporting world. In 2006, the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), licensing body of the long-running Gay Games, ruled that local organisers in Montreal were allowing the scale and costs of the Games to spiral out of control. When discussions broke down, the Gay Games were moved to Chicago and the Montreal committee founded OutGames.

The next International OutGames will take place in Antwerp, Belgium in August next year.

The Gay Games continue to run every four years, with the next event due to take place in 2014, in Ohio, USA.

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